September 30, 2007
This is my fault, they evidently released this a while ago.
Wii: 404,000 units
Xbox 360: 277,000 units
PS2: 202,000 units
PS3: 131,000 units
Gee, what a surprise, the Wii won again, outselling the second-place Xbox 360 by 1.46:1. Probably the biggest news this month was that for a change, the Xbox 360 finally outsold the PS2. This should be the norm, by the way.
Percentage of change from July:
Wii: Down about 5%. It will be interesting to see if Metroid Prime 3 has any affect on their sales or not, but that will wait until September, as it wasn't released until August 27th.
Xbox 360: Up about 63%, a very nice change for them. We'll have to wait for September's numbers to see how Halo 3 helped.
PS2: Down about 9%. If there's a better statement about how little the public really cares about the PS3/Xbox 360, I don't know what it is.
PS3: Down about 17%, but that's not surprising, since price cuts tend to be blippy. But it's at least over 100,000.
The big news from last month is that according to the numbers at VG Chartz, the Wii has now sold more consoles than the Xbox 360. That's pretty amazing considering the lead time the 360 had, and unlike the 360, the Wii has been profitable since day one. I'm really running out of silly analogies for the waterfall of money that is in place at Nintendo.
September 21, 2007
Could someone please give the Acrobat team a clue?
I'll buy you dinner at a nice place in San Francisco for Macworld if you do.
Once again, the lead evangelist for Acrobat, Lori DeFurio shows how you can be enthusiastic, motivated, a very nice person, and still not have a clue as to why the Mac universe hates Acrobat, even though we love PDF.
Every so often, the Acrobat teams goes through one of its "PDF GENERATED BY ANYTHING BUT ADOBE ACROBAT IS BAD!" spasms. I think most of the world is insightful enough to see that while there is some technical accuracy to this, the truth is, this is just Acrobat marketing spew designed to fearmonger you into buying Acrobat. The latest version is also Lori's latest post designed to show you how only Acrobat can give you real PDF. Lori's not the only one. Rick Boren, who specializes in Acrobat for the legal profession, has a similar post. Now, I'm not going to bother commenting on Lori's blog. There's a variety of reasons behind this, but honestly, it's mostly because I realized that the Acrobat Marketing team, of which both Lori and Rick are a part of, not only have a total lack of caring for Acrobat users on anything but Windows, but also fundamentally don't care about any business that isn't in their definition of Big Enterprise. Oh, I'm sure they might read this and get six kinds of indignant, but as people sometimes say "the proof is in the pudding" and the Acrobat pudding is sour indeed if you're a small business or on the Mac.
I did attempt to post a comment for Rick's post, pointing out how Acrobat is not a good solution for anyone not on Windows. I tried to point this out in a factual, reasonably non-confrontational way. Rick never published that comment. His right, but I can't say I'm surprised. The Acrobat team is not so good with dissent. The fact remains, Acrobat is non-existent on Linux, and on the Mac, its Office integration is still crippled. This lack of functional Office integration is still justified by statements so blatantly false that at this point, I can no longer be nice and say they're misleading. When Adobe says there's no way to improve Acrobat's integration with MS Office on the Mac beyond what it is today, they are lying. No, they are. I have proof that there are in fact, ways to get more information out of Office documents than Adobe claims. Were they to say "We can't do it in the only way we are ever going to try to do it", then they would not be lying. However, that would not allow them to put the blame on Microsoft. Acrobat marketing is not good at being honest with Mac users. Note Adobe's deafening silence on Acrobat support for Office 2008. Anyone care to start that dead pool?
However, yes Rick, there are lawyers who don't use Windows. If you use Linux, well, Adobe's response could be distilled down to "Get a real OS you hippy", and if you're on a Mac, it's "You're lucky you get what we allow you to have". Note: this is ONLY the Acrobat team. The CS team, i.e. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc., have never had this particular "must only care about big enterprise" disease that affects the Acrobat team. From what little I can tell, this isn't even the attitude of the engineers on the Acrobat team. It's pretty much the Marketing team saying this, (and had I not been so sick at Macworld last January, the Acrobat mouthpiece spewing the standard falsehoods would have gotten a rude shock in the form of technical accuracy.) and since the Marketing team makes the decisions, well, the poor suckers who have to buy Acrobat for the Mac pay the same price as the Windows version, but get royally reamed on the feature set.
So let's see here. We should only use Acrobat, a product whose decision-making team has shown, consistently, since at least 2001 or so, that they regard the Mac market as a boil on its ass, instead of PDF making clones, most of which are made by companies, at least on the Mac, show that they care about our needs and appreciate us beyond the money we throw at them. Huh. Now, don't get me wrong, Acrobat is really a solid application, and the full PDF feature set is really damned useful and well designed. But every time I use Acrobat on the Mac, I feel like Pilot-Captain Blackthorne getting pissed on by the local samurai for being a bit too mouthy.
It's not like I haven't tried to talk about this with the Acrobat team. At the WWDC, I tried to set up a meeting with the Acrobat team and some of the Mac enterprise IT people attending that event so that both sides could sit down, and maybe the Acrobat team's decision makers could talk to people they don't think exist, and realize that yes, the Mac market is worth more effort than "as little as possible". Didn't happen. The Acrobat team couldn't be bothered to even show up at a local bar to just sit down and talk. We didn't want to string them up. We wanted to talk to them about how their installers completely fuck up deployment on managed Mac networks, how their first run requirements make setting up deployments of Acrobat and Reader for non-admin users really painful, etc. Yes, there would have been a lot of criticism, but you know what? Microsoft talks to MacEnterprise, Apple does too. But Adobe? Heh..no way dude. That's not everyone on the Acrobat team. There are a few individuals who do try to do the right thing, but as a group, again, the Acrobat team works very hard to make the Mac market think that they don't matter to the Acrobat team. When the protests from the Acrobat team happen, if they do, I will happily show them all the items that prove my point, and wait for yet another round of stony silence, which may be punctuated by angry muttering.
So while Acrobat is indeed a better way to generate proper PDF, so long as the Acrobat team does its level best to make the Mac OS market feel like some kind of boil on Acrobat's ass, they can just deal with the fact that we're not going to be real thrilled about laying out the price to do it the Acrobat way.
Here's one...maybe, just maybe, if the Acrobat team starts treating the Mac market like a group of valuable customers, maybe we'll start acting that way...
...but don't hold your breath.
September 19, 2007
On the DOJ's reaction to the EC's victory over Microsoft
Goddamnit, if I have to spend all my time swallowing corporate choad, why should you get out of it?I guess fellating big business isn't so cool when you're the only one doing it.
Yet another reason I wish I'd been born British
Stephen Fry has a blog. Yes, that Stephen Fry.
But that's minor. What is important is that he states everything I dislike about Windows Mobile and Windows so much better than I, that I am greener than a cucumber at how well he uses his native language:
Windows for Mobiles is certainly better than Windows for PCs or, God help us all, Vista, but it is still an insulting offering. The feeling, as with all things Microsoft, is that all design features and functions are there to suit MS rather than to delight, enthuse and compel the user. Compromise, short-cuts, inconveniences, vestigial residues - no one responsible is likely to pat themselves on the back for the design or the s’ware engineering, any more than the architect or project manager of a 60s council flat is likely to point it out with pride as he rides by with his grandchildren. You’re only on this planet once – do something extraordinary, imaginative and inspiring. That’s the difference, ultimately. Those behind Palm OS and the Psion can justifiably be proud of what they did, what they created. WinMob just muscled in on a market they never spotted and they did it in a clumsy, bullying, ugly manner, exactly as they had with Windows before, and exactly as IBM had with the PC itself a decade earlier. Break free, all you corporate software engineers and designers: the excuse that you are under the rule of dullards, greedy share-price number crunchers and visually and ergonomically illiterate yahoos is not good enough. Persuade them. Otherwise we all get a digital environment that’s a vile as a 60s housing estate.That's why Americans hate the British. The bastards took their language skills with them when they left. Greedy is what it is. Just greedy.
September 18, 2007
Bitchin' is totally Bitchin'
So let me just say here, that I'm a Donnas fan. A huge fan. Fan-BOY. I don't have any Donnas tattoos, but don't tempt me too hard.
With that in mind, Bitchin' is one kick-ass album for anyone, but if you're a fan of hair metal and 80s arena rock? Heaven, pure loud, sparkly, Aqua-Net/L.A. Looks HEAVEN.
There are a lot of albums and bands that talk about being influenced by various styles, and letting that influence show through in different ways, and The Donnas are no different. Spend the Night always gave me flashbacks to Side A of KISS's Dressed to Kill. Hard driving, three minute rock with balls and absolutely...tasty...guitar. With Gold Medal the feel was different. This was in part a deliberate decision by the band to let their love of bands like Cheap Trick influence the songwriting, but also due to drummer Torry Castellano's issues with tendinitis that eventually required surgery. Although Torry played on the album after the surgery, she had to learn how to drum with "proper" technique, and could only play for short periods of time. This lead to Gold Medal having a somewhat less heavy sound with a wider range of musical styles throughout the album. While there were only two singles that most people knew about, Fall Behind Me, whose opening lick you couldn't miss for a year on VH1, and the nigh-Homage du Cheap Trick that was I Don't Wanna Know (If You Don't Want Me), (an amusing choice for a single, as it's written from the POV of a female stalker), I really liked Gold Medal. It's often easy for a band to crank out the same album over and over. I mean, look at Boston. They released the same album with the same song three times. So for a band known for hard-driving straightforward bar rock, Gold Medal was a risk, and one I'm glad they took. Besides the singles, my favorite song on the album is the title track. The tune is jaunty, the lyrics less so, but it's melodic, and fun, and a song that not only makes me want to sing along, but was a true surprise for me. In this day and age of marketing committee-determined sound, any band willing to throw a random left turn of a song on an album gains +10 on my scale just for trying. When it works as well as Gold Medal, (the song and the album), booyah.
If it was possible to do more of a 180° from Gold Medal than Bitchin', I'm not sure how. Where Gold Medal was at times muted, Bitchin' is...big. Big Drums. Big Reverb. Big Echo. Big EVERYTHING. It's everything I ever liked about hair metal and arena rock, and none of the stuff I hated. (Read: Brett Anderson may not be Robert Plant or Ann Wilson, but I also don't have to listen to her being Mark Slaughter or Joey Tempest, and that's a very good thing.) Torry Castellano's drums jackhammer 4/4 into your skull and out of your ass, taking your spine with it. But she avoids the sin of plodding through it ala Rick Allen. Yes, the drum lines are not anything ala Bonham or Peart, but they are played skillfully, and with care. One of my favorite drum parts on the album is in the first release from the album, Don't Wait Up for Me, a song that should be in the dictionary next to "anthem rock", and one that is sure to be a hit for any group planning a night of serious drinking. That's not to say that every song is her trying to do permanent damage to her kit. Torry's work on Wasted is another example of her skill as a timekeeper, and shows her ability to neatly move between the piledriver needed for Don't Wait Up For Me and a less thunderous, yet still hard-driving drum line. The opening to What Do I Have To Do will give moments of "I CAN HAZ WHITE STRIPES?" in the way it echos Blue Orchid, while other tracks like Save Me and Here for the Party have all the fills and cowbells you'd expect from a Def Leppard track. In truth, Here for the Party could almost be a Def Leppard song. That's not a bad thing, by the way, nor accidental, as the band has stated that this album was heavily influenced by Def Leppard and other giants of the late 80s.
The second leg of the rhythm triumvirate of The Donnas, bassist Maya Ford shines here for the same reasons as Castellano. While her role this album is not as prominent as on Gold Medal's Friends Like Mine, Don't Break Me Down, and Is That All You've Got, she is still a critical part of that combination of melody and hard driving rock which makes my li'l ol' heart go boom-boom when I listen to them. Then again, as aggressive as Maya plays, that could be my spine, it's hard to tell sometimes. (I'd swear she's trying to find the infamous "Brown Noise".) Maya's bass playing complements both the drums and the guitar, achieving that tricky balance that requires avoidance of being too overpowering and fading so far back that she may as well not be there. While shining as a bass player in a twenty-minute per song prog rock ensemble is sometimes a matter of waiting your turn for your solo, doing it in three minutes when you are playing between a drummer like Castellano and Allison Robertson's amazing guitar is tricky as hell, yet Maya pulls it off with aplomb, and onstage, a look that says you might get the headstock of that Gibson in an uncomfortable spot should you give her any shit.
It is impossible to talk about a Donnas' album without massive amounts of superlatives for Allison Robertson and her Gibsons. It's actually pretty hard not to gush like a sixth grader with a crush, especially if you're a fan of the kind of playing that Allison is so damned good at. The truth is, I'm a sucker, a total sap for a guitar player who can manage to play blistering lead and solid rhythm, and smoothly move between each. One of the reasons I have loved The Donnas since I first heard them has been their sense of melody. They aren't just hard to show they have bigger cocks than the guys, and in the effort, turn songs into collections of instruments. Every part in every song never loses track of the song. It's a quality that all my favorite guitar players share, from Page to Prince to Giraldo to Robertson. Yes, she does belong in that group too. Honestly, I think she's one of the top five active guitar players, and to be brutally blunt I'd piss on Clapton tickets to hear her play. (Okay, deal. Clapton's been sucking so much old black blues guy cock for so long that he's stopped being Eric Clapton, and turned into the Muddy Waters Tribute Band. When Clapton starts doing his own music again, ala 461 Ocean Boulevard and Slowhand, i'll start listening to him again. In the mean time, when i want to hear Muddy, I'll buy Muddy's albums.) She can hammer out power chords that will kick your nuts out of your spine, play blistering leads in a variety of styles, but it's never overdone.
Someone told me once that when they heard her play, the word "tasty" came to mind, and I can't disagree. Even when she's flinging notes out as fast as she can, there's never a sense that she doesn't care about each and every one of them. Like I said, tasty. On Bitchin', she shows off yet another side of her playing in homage after homage to every solo you ever heard from every hair metal band. Listening to Bitchin', I kept saying "Ooh...Scorpions...Slaughter...Kix..." and so on. But it wasn't just copying. All her licks are most definitely her, but she's able to copy the flavor of a dozen different artists. That's a tricky thing to do, and her ability to pull it off makes me want to sit in a dark room with good headphones and try to pull out every layer on every song. That's something that not many guitarists beyond Page and Prince inspire in me, and every time I listen to her playing, especially in "Turn 21" and later, i hear something else that I missed the last time. The fact that she's not regularly on the covers of more guitar magazines just shows how retarded the music press can be. As both an amateur guitar player for the last five or so years, and a guitar aficionado/fan for over thirty years, I can say that the fact Allison isn't viewed as a friggin' guitar god is astounding to me.
In truth, Bitchin' is both a kick - ass rock album, and a disk of mini-homages to various bands. The cowbell opening to "Here For The Party" could just as easily lead into "Rock of Ages". The opening guitar in "Wasted" brings to mind a slightly-distant conglomeration of The Cure/She Wants Revenge/Bahaus, while "Don't Wait Up For Me" makes you think of some Marvel-inspired "What If Joan Jett was in Bon Jovi?" alternate universe thriller. The lead-in to "Better Off Dancin" brings to mind the opening guitar bits to "I Ran", while "Give Me What I Want" reminds me of why the aforementioned first side of "Dressed To Kill" is still one of my favorite album sides of all time. One point I find interesting is that while you can get Bitchin' on iTunes, that's not really the best place. My personal favorite site for this album is on their 11spot page, where you can not only download the album in MP3 format at 192Kbps, but you can also get the physical CD, or (JOY!) the album on actual VINYL. PURPLE VINYL! Yeah, yeah, digital's better. Well, album art on CD's sucks rancid donkey cock, and everyone with a clue knows that album art kicks CD art's ass. Besides, look at the love for the 80s in the CD cover art and on the CD itself, and the fact that the album is on purple vinyl. They're even selling Nagel t-shirts! OMG80sSQUEEE!!!!!! I mean holy shit, if it came with a Versace jacket, it couldn't be more 80s. I don't often say this, but if you're thinking of picking up Bitchin', fuck iTunes. (Actually, if you want to be REALLY cool, buy it from the link in my Amazon Links section on the right ;-)) Get it at 11spot, it's just a better deal. (Oh for Donnas fans, they keep up their tradition of including a cover amongst the originals. This time? Safety Dance. That's right. Safety Dance. Sweet.
In conclusion, Bitchin' is Bitchin', The Donnas kick ass, and i can't wait for their show on the 27th in Omaha.
September 14, 2007
DB2 == Teh Suck
If DB2 was physically oblong, brown and stinky, it couldn't be a bigger turd.
Technorati Tags: TEH SUCK| Comments ()
Just say no to ComputerWorld Mac articles
So a good friend sends me a link to this pile of WTF-ery. I read it, (some good writing there...not), and think "Well, I could bash the hell out of this", but then I realize, there's no point. With rare exception, ComputerWorld's Mac coverage is flame/trollbait looking for hit counts. I mean, just look at the title. Circular logic, not bothering to learn the market, and well, Mike Elgan. What more do you need as proof that ComputerWorld's Mac coverage is crap, well, 99% of it is. For example:
The fact that Microsoft hasn't updated its Entourage client for the Mac in several years suggests that its OS X support is waning, although a new Office 2008 version for the Mac with a new e-mail client is due in January.See? Stupid writ large.
So do what I did as of this bit: Stop reading it unless you want to see what the output of a bunch of Dvoraking Chuckleheads looks like.
They aren't going to change, and they don't care about getting better. So why give them the hits? Just walk away.
September 13, 2007
Ponytail boy has that thing pulled way too tight
Wow, I guess ol' Schwartzy forgot what happened to SGI when they decided to abandon their core competency to suck at Redmond's teat. Went from being a central innovator in the Unix space, particularly for high-end graphics and actually had a decent UI with Irix...to selling compute clusters for Linux and Windows.
Anyone care to start up the Sun death pool? After all, you can never have too many Linux and Windows compute cluster OEMs.
Oh well, Solaris wasn't used by anyone of not, right?
September 11, 2007
I am evidently a favorite amongst the rabble
Actual SPAM comment in my moderation queue:
Just serfed in. Great site, guys!cVery nice. Now bring me my hasenfeffer you smelly peasant!
Technorati Tags: WTF?| Comments ()
I know I'm totally alone on this...
But unless it's about Segway polo, lame practical jokes or thirty - year old tech as a (valuable) historical reference or other "I'm a fat old rich white guy who does fuck all besides be a fat old rich white guy", (and that's pretty cool, don't get me wrong), stuff...
I don't fucking care what Steve Wozniak has to say about Apple or Apple products. He doesn't work there. He isn't involved in the decisions. He has lunch with Jobs here and there, according to his own words. He's no more better - informed than anyone else about what's going on there, and is full of shit just as frequently.
Can we please stop asking him wtf he thinks is behind various Apple things? 'Cause you know, if you're going to ask him, you may as well ask Bruce Horn or anyone who actually worked on a fucking Macintosh. Any of them would have the same kind of "insight" as Woz, only with less e-fellating. The dude had one successful company, and no doubt he did literally change the world. But he did it in 1977. A little less sucking of the Woznipenis would not kill anyone.
note: members of the Woz fan club...yes, I know what he did. let it fucking go, he's now just a historical figure enjoying his money. get your head out of his ass and see who's creating new stuff. i'm not saying forget the man exists, but stop hanging on his every word already.
Technorati Tags: tag| Comments ()
September 7, 2007
Mike Elgan needs a new thinkin' brain
His current one's gone all Dvorak in the middle.
One of his Computerworld articles, re-published by Macworld, entitled "It's official: Apple is the new Microsoft", while guaranteed to get you hits, is not the most factual look at things. Nor the best thought-out.
First, he's using some weak relationships to justify his claims, and with the EMI deal, they're really weak:
People love iPods (including me; my family of four has purchased 12 iPods in the past few years). But iPods come bundled with iTunes. Want to buy music from Apple? Guess what? You must install iTunes. Want an Apple cell phone from AT&T? Yep! ITunes is required even if you want only to make phone calls. Want to buy ringtones for your Apple phone? iTunes.I ask, what's your point? None of this is hidden, none of this is unknown. You want an iPod, you use iTunes. However, that's not the same as his implication that you are forced to use the iTunes store exclusively. I have a number of tracks on my iPod from other places that sell MP3s from bands that aren't on iTunes, like Snocap. MP3s still work. As well, there are a number of ways to get ringtones on your iPhone that don't require iTunes at all. If you never wish to synchronize your iPhone to a computer, then you need iTunes exactly *once*...to activate it. After that, delete iTunes and have a party. You only need it for updates after that. Find a friend with iTunes, and use their system. It's no more onerous than Verizon or Sprint making you use their stores to activate their phones, or not letting you update the phones without their approved method. Actually, considering the hell that is smartphone updates in general, Apple's implementation is far superior.
Apple not only “bundles” iTunes with multiple products, it forces you to use it. At least with Internet Explorer, you could always just download a competitor and ignore IE.You can no more ignore IE in Windows than you can ignore Cocoa in Mac OS X. That's because IE is not in fact, an standalone product. Like Safari, it has a rather huge number of system frameworks that are all over Windows. IE is simply an implementation of various frameworks and libraries. Just like Safari. Mike's being a bit disingenuous here.
But operating systems have browsers as part of core functionality, too. Doesn’t Mac OS X come with Safari? Doesn’t the iPhone?As does Windows and damned near every Linux distribution.
And “bundling” works. Steve Jobs bragged this week that Apple has distributed 600 million copies of iTunes to date. The overwhelming majority of those copies were iTunes for Windows. And iTunes for Windows’ popularity isn’t driven by software product quality. ITunes is the slowest, clunkiest, most nonintuitive application on my system. But I need it because I love my iPods.Bundling, or maintaining control over the entire experience? On Windows, you can't claim that Apple is "forcing" you do do anything Mike, and we both know it. You want an iPod, you deal with that ecosystem, the same as if you want a Zune or an Xbox 360.
At least with Windows, you could reformat your PC and install Linux or any number of other PC-compatible operating systems. Can I reformat my iPod and install something else? Can I uninstall iTunes but keep using the iTunes store and my iPods? Apple strongly discourages all that, claiming that the iPod, the iPod software and iTunes are three components of the same product. But that’s what Microsoft said about Windows and IE.Okay this part is just stupid. But if Mike wants to play...can I reformat my Zune and run Linux or any number of other PC-compatible OS's? Why..no, no you cannot. Nor can you with a Windows Mobile device, or any one of a hundred devices running embedded OS's. Why?
Because neither the iPod, nor the Zune, nor the Treo, nor the Motorola Q is a PC-compatible device.
Mike should be ashamed of himself for trying to compare a handheld device to a full-on PC and whining that he can't use it just like something that has completely different hardware. That's almost moron-level logic there. But Mike has to make his point somehow, so he's taking what he can get.
The only downside is that he works out every day at the gym, where cardio machines face TVs that broadcast sound over FM radio. Six months later, when his iPod is stolen, he goes to buy another player — this time, he hopes, with an FM radio in it. Several competitors offer this feature, but not iPods. He’s about to choose a new player with an FM radio when it hits him: None of his files — now totaling 300 songs and 50 movies — will play on the new player. He bought and paid for all this content, but it only works with iPods and iTunes.Lord. Um...Mike? The iPod Radio Remote. Solves the problem nicely. If you're going to rag on a product for its failings, make sure you know the product better. As well, if your dad bought anything from the EMI non-DRM'd collection, then he'd have almost no problems at all here. See, Mike is confusing the problems caused by the stupidity that is DRM, something Apple has, quite publicly come out against, with his need to fill space on the article. If DRM were to get properly buried, then your dad would have no problem at all. Perhaps you should have shown him how to legally get his music without DRM, and spared him any trouble at all.
Apple has an iPod customer for life. Microsoft never had this kind of monopoly power. Sorry, dad. I should have bought you a tie.I've got a bunch of companies locked into Exchange that say Mike's talkin' stupid here.
That same shock rippled through the iPhone enthusiast community yesterday when Jobs announced with a straight face that iPhone ringtones based on iTunes songs would cost the full price of the song, plus 99 cents extra. What? The full song costs 99 cents! How on Earth can Apple seriously charge the same amount again for the ability to hear just 30 seconds of the song — the same length as the free iTunes “samples”?The same way that Verizon/Sprint/AT&T/etc use their monopoly power on its devices to charge you over twice that for a song to play, and the same song as a ringtone. Apple is hardly breaking new ground here. I think Mike needs to vent more at the group of liars and thieves that are all cell carriers here. As sad as it sounds, Apple is actually not hitting you as badly as everyone else. Does it suck? Sure. But, come on. Custom Ringtones are a luxury item for any phone. You can own an iPhone forever and never use one. In fact, out of every cell phone I've had since 1998, the iPhone is only the third one I've ever used any kind of custom ringtone on, and only the second where I had different ringtones for different people. It's a ringtone, not air.
Apple fully understands the power of monopoly pricing. The company has sold the 8GB iPhone for two prices in its short, three months of existence: $599 and, now, $399. When the iPhone was the only way to get the whole multitouch, big-screen, Wi-Fi iPod experience — when the product had no alternatives — the price was $599. One analyst estimated Apple’s cost to build an iPhone is $245.83. I don’t know if that’s true but, if so, more than half the user cost was profit. That’s theater soda pricing. But as soon as Apple introduced an alternative to the iPhone — the iPod Touch — Apple dropped the price by one-third.See, i cannot believe that Mike Elgan is so ignorant of the costs of a device such as the iPhone that he'd take a materials-only quote that isn't even authoritative and assume that engineering, developing and manufacturing have zero cost. He simply cannot be that ignorant, I refuse to believe it. Therefore, he's got to be playing some games here, and I really dislike that. As far as the price drops, well duh. That can't be a surprise to anyone. The amount? Maybe. But the drop itself? No way dude.
Imagine if another company were allowed to compete in the OS X media player market. These players would all drop to below $300. Don’t hold your breath, though; it’ll never happen. Apple has the power to exclude all others from software than runs on its media players. Microsoft could only dream of such power.Ah, my favorite part. The part where I can just say "Bullshit". Mike, you're so full of shit here that it beggars the imagination. There's nothing keeping someone from having another media player on OS X. In fact, I have one right now. VLC. There's nothing Apple is doing or can do, physically or psychologically that's keeping Microsoft from allowing the full range of Windows Media to be functional on Mac OS X. There's nothing Apple is doing, nor can do that would prevent Microsoft and one of its partners from creating a Creative Store or an MTV store, or even the Zune store on Mac OS X. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft refuses to bring the full Windows Media experience to any non-Microsoft platform unless it's through something like Silverlight. You don't get full Windows Media on non Microsoft platforms, period. But that's a Microsoft decision, not Apple.
Although full details haven’t been revealed, NBC apparently wanted more “flexibility” to charge higher prices for its TV shows on iTunes. Apple said no, and NBC was sent packing. NBC now plans to sell shows on alternative locations, such as its own Web site and on Amazon.com. Prediction: NBC will come crawling back to Apple and beg the company for inclusion, and on Apple’s terms. Why? Because iTunes is increasingly becoming the only venue in which media companies can succeed selling music and TV show.Again, bullshit. Here, let me just use Active X controls outside of IE on Windows. What? I can't? But that means I can only use Windows for these web sites I need to do my job! DAMN YOU STEVE JOBS!
Jobs rules like Bill Gates never did. If you want to succeed in the digital music or downloadable TV business, you’ll do things his way.
The only reason Jobs has the influence he does is because the music and media companies blatantly state they hate their customers and want to make it as hard as possible for anyone to view content outside of methods that they lock down far tighter than Jobs has to date. It's also because, well, face it. Other than Apple, the media companies are pretty damned stupid. if NBC can't succeed without Apple, that's not Apple's fault. They could easily make sure their content is usable by iTunes and iPods et al without deal one with Apple. But I bet they won't. Instead, they'll use some overly complicated and restrictive Windows Media DRM bullshit, and wonder why they aren't selling. Again, not Apple's fault. iTunes and the iPod handle a wide range of formats, only one of which is Apple-only. Again, Mike is guilty of playing with reality to make his story work better.
Is Apple a monopolist, copycat and bully? Yes, and deservedly so. And if anyone thinks Apple’s success is a problem, well, bringing in the lawyers wasn’t the solution for Microsoft, and it won’t be the solution for Apple.This comparison is funny when you consider how hard Apple pushes for no DRM on anything in the iTunes store, which would effectively gut any ability for them to "lock" you to the iPod or iTunes from a content POV.
Mike, the next time you have an article to write, and no good ideas, just tell us about something cute your kids did over the weekend. It'd be better than this tripe.
Deja Vu all over again
So Daring Fireball linked me to a story on pulling our heads out of our asses with regard to HTML support in email. I especially like this part:
So, it's not going anywhere and it's broken. If we can all get past this point together, it's obvious that the best path forward is to work with desktop and web-based email client manufacturers to improve how HTML emails are rendered, not argue amongst ourselves about personal preference.I must admit, it sounded vaguely familiar to me, like I'd seen another post with the same basic idea...
But I think that if the major email client vendors, such as Microsoft, Qualcomm, Lotus, Apple, Ximian, etc., would get together and create an email subset of HTML...perhaps emHTML? Then you could have a nice, standard, way to have increased formatting in emails without making it an internet version of Word. So I think I shall have to officially get off the “Email must be nothing but ASCII text” train. It's going to happen anyway folks, so how about dealing with it proactively, as opposed to the fingers-in-ears-and-yelling reaction that the 'Net Pharts have to change.That's right, I had seen it before, because I friggin' wrote about it over three years ago!
Jesus, when does the cool part of "being ahead of my time" kick in? Like the money and the naked adoring young women following me about wherever I go, making my life a living hell until I slink out of sight, unheard of until my untimely demise in a Mexican brothel?Comments ()
September 6, 2007
To everyone who thinks Apple owes them money because the iPhone price dropped
Whine a little louder, the starving people in Darfur can't hear you.
To those of you wondering why my misanthropic tendencies are so well-developed? Shit like "YOU DROPPED THE PRICE, WE DESERVE MONEEEE" is why. I hate entitlement queens, and MacMacs are the worst of all.
Every.Single.Complaint resolves to "Waaah, I want my $200 because I couldn't wait, WAAAAH"
Fucking crybabies. Get bent all of you, and eat glass.Comments ()
You just KNOW Lenny Bruce is laughing his ass off at this
Yay, the home of the free and the land of the brave now has an actual list of BANNED WORDS. See kids, it's not just right wing fundie fanatics crapping on the spirit of the Constitution, that's a game we all can play!
Even better, now we'll have to put up with weeks of apologies and Oprah because of this, just wait.
September 5, 2007
What a good design gets you
Now, most of you know I'm getting married, and that my Fiancee is an artist and graphic designer. What you may not know is that she works for the Osceola County Library system in well, Osceola County FL. One of the big projects that she and one of her coworkers have been the primary people on is a redesign of the Library system's web site. That link I have to it is the new design.
A lot of times, people do redesigns because well, they think they should. But they are never quite sure what it will get them.
In the library's case, the benefits of the redesign are clear, and obvious. In the months prior to the rollout of the new design, average hit count was around 12,500 hits per month. (I forget page views or unique visitors) Not bad.
The first full month with the new design? Over ninety-five thousand hits. That's right. From 12,500 to over 95,000. With a significant percentage of users hanging out on the site for over five minutes. An almost-eightfold increase in hits, and longer loyalty numbers. That's what a good design got them. Will those numbers hold in the long run? Hard to say, but that's not a bad start.
Technorati Tags: Good Design| Comments ()
On the iPod/iPhone announcement
New colors for shuffles.
Redesigned Nano, for better video, 4GB for $149, 8GB for $199.
iPod, now iPod "Classic" in 80GB and 160GB sizes, for $249 and $349 respectively.
iPod "Touch", an iPhone without the phone part, with WiFi, in 8GB and 16GB for $299 and $399.
WiFi iTunes Store for the Touch and the iPhone.
WiFi deal with Starbuck's.
$200 dollar price drop on the iPhone, both models, with the 4GB model being discontinued, so the 8GB is now $399.
That thudding sound you hear is the Zune.
"But we dropped the price of the 30GB Zune to $199!" says the Zune team.
Alas, they may have brought a sharper knife to the fight, but as the amazingly apt Andy Ihnatko said, Apple brought a cannon. That's the difference between being an innovator and a wannabe. I think Microsoft may want to rethink that Zune strategy which seems to be "make shitty versions of great products, and hope the people making the great products never improve theirs again".
Thus far, it's not working real well.
No, HackMac, this is not in fact, a bug
I really, really wish that before people freaked out about a "major security flaw", that they'd learn how the thing they're flipping out about works. The latest round in OMGWTFKHAAAAAAAN!!!111 bingo is HackMac.org's article about Single User Mode and the .AppleSetupDone file. In a nutshell, they discovered that booting single-user and deleting the .AppleSetupDone file will cause the Mac OS X Setup Assistant, (the one you see on a brand new Mac or new OS install) to run, allowing you to create a new user "without knowing the current administrator password". According to HackMac, this is a "major security flaw":
Here's how to create an admin account with knowing the current administrator password.
This is a major security flaw, but it is used nowadays by tech support if something happened and your computer crashed, or something got messed up with your password.
First of all, no it's not a major security flaw. It's how the OS has worked with regard to knowing if it needed to run the initial setup assistant or not. A quick Google search of .AppleSetupDone pulls up references on doing this from 2001. MacOSXHints.com has a post from Sunday, April 22, 2001 about this, because it's part of recovering from a hosed NetInfo database. This is not new. At all. Nor does Apple hide this information. A quick search for that file name on Apple's support site yields 4 quick hits in three documents on this
- Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server: How to Replace the NetInfo Database, which talks about this procedure in some detail
- Mac OS X Server 10.1.5 for Xserve: How to Reset the Administrator Password, which, like #1, dates back to 2002, and is specifically targeted at the very thing that HackMac decries as a "major security hole".
- Setting up Mac OS X Server for Xserve has this info too.
if this is some kind of "major security hole", it's the worst-hidden one in history. But then, it's not a hole. First of all, to do this all the way, you have to have physical access to the machine in question, to start Single - User Mode, or SUM. If I have that kind of unfettered, unmonitored access to a system, I can do far worse things than add a new administrator account via the setup assistant. That's actually the lame way to do it, because it's loud and slow. Far more effective to partially bring the system up, then just do it via the proper command line tools, which would also allow me to better hide the damned thing. Or just enable root on the box. For that matter, I can just boot off an OS install disk, and change the administrator password that way.
The point is, once you have unfettered physical access to the box, all bets are off. Your only hope is encryption, and that still relies on the quality of the password/passphrase.
As far as SUM letting me do this, well, that's what SUM's for. If you don't like people getting access to SUM, then set up an Open Firmware or EFI password, and lock access to the innards of your desktops. But once someone has SUM access and time, well, it's just their skills between you and an owned box.
But no, this is not a major security flaw, no matter what HackMac says. That article has some issues anyway. This part:
Step 6: Setup the computer. Select "DO NOT TRANSFER MY DATA". Don't worry, all your old stuff will still be there. Choose your internet connection and network, here is where you need your WEP or security password if you have one.No, actually, you don't need this at all. That part is bypassable.
For a site about "hacking", HackMac needs to spend a little more time on why, so they understand what's going on before they start chicken littling things.
Don't look that way, look over here!
Which begs the question of course, why? What's the purpose. Well, Microsoft has all kinds of happy clappy PR about how it's going to make all kinds of rich content available, blah, yadda.
But we have that today, with Flash and others. But Flash is not a Microsoft tech, so we all knew that at some point, it was going to be a problem for Microsoft. Hence Silverlight. Now, that's not to say that Silverlight doesn't have its advantages, but it has some serious disadvantages too. First and foremost, it's a cross-platform product from the Windows side of the Microsoft house. Over the years, I've learned that any cross-platform work from that group either has a lifespan measured in a single major version, if that long, (Cross - platform Active X, Outlook 2001), will be introduced in a fanfare, then upgraded rarely, if at all, never really work right, and in general be a total pain in the ass, (Windows Media Player, Services for Macintosh), or exist only to try and get people to dump !Windows for Windows, (Services for Unix). Sometimes, Microsoft doesn't really do a damned thing other than PR, (The Sun deal, Port25), and they can't even do that right, (The Linux vendor deals while making vague threats of IP suits against Linux users).
In other words, once you get outside of the Mac BU, Microsoft's cross - platform efforts lack trustability. Honestly, I'm not taking it seriously until the release of Silverlight 2.0 for !Windows with 100% feature parity with the Windows version.
Secondly, the dev tools are all Windows only. Oh sure, you can write XAML in a text editor, but then again, in theory, you can code Word with a text editor. Yet no one seems to do that. The issue here is that to do "real" Silverlight work, your coders, your designers, pretty much everyone involved with Silverlight from a creation standpoint has to move to Windows. Now, let's see...move a lot of Mac and Linux content creators to Silverlight due to great promises and PR from Microsoft, and a couple years later..."Oh, we're moving it to Windows only, and redoing the licenses so you can't use it anywhere else." Oops. Oh, yeah, it's happened before. Remember Rotor? Rotor version one was cross platform. Version 2? Windows only. Surprise!
So right now, Microsoft's sole real-world commitment to Silverlight, as in, they spent money and created code, the only commitment I take seriously from any company, is a web browser plugin for Mac OS X. Novell and others are handling Linux. So the Linux people get an artificial delta anyway. Yay for them.
But why? It's not just to push .NET, Microsoft could have done that years ago by fully backing Mono. What does Silverlight do?
Well, first, it makes sure that Microsoft has better controls over the dev environments. That's a big one. If they can get the major content providers over to Windows, then pull the plug on the non-Windows plugins, it will be at least a year, maybe two for anyone who went down that path to get back to being able to do cross - platform code. (If you don't think Microsoft would force you to only use the newest plugins, you have no clue about the history of that company.)
Secondly, and more importantly I think, it preserves and spreads Windows Media DRM, and it does so in a way that really sandboxes the content. What's the biggest complaint people have with Windows Media DRM these days? Well, if you're not running a Microsoft OS, you're kinda fuxx0r3d if you want to use it. But Silverlight makes that all go away. Now, you can provide Windows Media content with all the DRM you like, and best of all, it's locked to the browser. You can't save it to your hard drive! Well, not easily. The entire executive staff of NBC/Universal just came in their pants. Not only does Silverlight force a subscription model, but best of all, it's a more restrictive model with per - use approval. You could easily charge for every viewing of content with Silverlight, and the only way to get around that is to try and copy the video / audio stream to a local file. That's a lot of fun. Wait, no, it isn't.
Silverlight is the best thing to happen to DRM in years, which makes it the best thing to happen to Windows Media in years.
The sad thing is, while Microsoft and others try to push DRM, even with Silverlight, the rest of the world is realizing that DRM just doesn't work worth a crap, never will, and is figuring out better ways to deal with it that don't screw over the consumers. It's the last gasp of a dying model. If Microsoft really wants to make Windows Media universal, just open it up more. You can make tons of money with it, even when you aren't fucking over your users.
But Microsoft is incapable of being radical or even coming up with a new idea anymore, so they go down the IBM path, but they're still following IBM in the pre-Gerstner years. (No, The Man Who Invented Notes is not going to make it all better, get over it.)
They should have just called it "Blackout", because that's far closer to what it is really for.
September 4, 2007
It must be said...
Dave Winer's just a fucking idiot. He was smart once, but lately? Nah, not so much.
From his latest attempt to look smart, while showing he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about:
What if the iPhone didn't come ready to talk to AT&T over the cellular phone network, rather it came ready to work over an EVDO network?Huh? Dude, what exactly do you think EVDO is? Why, EVDO IS A CELLULAR NETWORK. From Wikipedia:
Evolution-Data Optimized or Evolution-Data only, abbreviated as EV-DO or EVDO and often EV, is a telecommunications standard for the wireless transmission of data through radio signals, typically for broadband Internet access. It is classified as a broadband technology, because it uses a broad band of radio frequencies. It employs multiplexing techniques such as CDMA (Code division multiple access) as well as Frequency division duplex (FDD) to maximize the amount of data transmitted. It is standardized by 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) as part of the CDMA2000 family of standards and has been adopted by many mobile phone service providers around the world – particularly those previously employing CDMA networks, as opposed to GSM networks.Lord. He can't even be bothered to learn his terms.
What if, like all Macs, it could then make its wifi capability available to all computers in range, wirelessly of course (Windows machines too).You mean like tethering? Again Dave, this is not new. What IS new is your fundamental misunderstanding of minor issues like security and bandwidth. Evidently, Dave is followed by unlimited bandwidth whereever he goes. Let's see... with EVDO Rev. A, your max download burst rate is 3.1Mbps, and your max burst upload is 1.8Mbps. Now, every computer in range. Let's be nice and say WiFi published range of 150'. On a typical day for me, that's anywhere from 5 to 50 machines. Hmm...what's that do to our bandwidth. Yeah, because even Winer can't think they're building a wireless router into an iPhone. Well he might, but anyone lucid is not.
it gets better:
And what if there was already a wifi signal, that the iPhone would magically "just work?"IT DOES THAT NOW YOU ADDLE-PATED NINCOMPOOP! Holy shit, the iPhone is absolutely maddening with how agressive it is at finding WiFi networks to use and asking you about them. No, not even Winer wants it to just grab any random network and just start using it. That's what those of us with a clue about security call "Fucking Stupid".
Evidently, Winer is now so into his own press, that he thinks every idea he has is original and innovative. Like his river thing.
Back off the meds dude, you're hallucinating.